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Three Takes on David Chang's Midtown Migration, Ma Peche

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Krieger, 4/2/10

For those who missed it yesterday, Sam Sifton awarded two stars to the diminutive and consistently packed Torrisi Italian Specialties, saying it's "unlike any other in Manhattan." See here for more. [NYT]

Meanwhile, three major critics filed on David Chang's doings at the two month-old Ma Peche this week. The Cuozz offers up two and a half stars, Plattypants drops a deuce, and Jay Cheshes hands out three. The Cuozz notes:

Ma Peche (“mother peach”) is a soft landing for him — far from a fiasco — but a definite comedown for the city’s most insufferably hyped, over-awarded, self-dramatizing young chef. You’ve been waiting for that, right?

Actually the Cuozz likes the place okay, just notes it's not groundbreaking. He calls it a "more than welcome, accessibly exotic addition to the Midtown eating scene, with quirks that make it lovable and dislikable by turns."

Cheshes meanwhile calls Ma Peche "watered down," "seriously diluted, it seems, by corporate cash," noting that it "has virtually no personality. And it’s not just the decor that’s verging on bland." The food is "often pleasant but rarely exciting."

Platt concurs with the others. He is mostly impressed by the food, but has this to say about the rest:

...removed as it is from its native territory, there’s something stilted and slightly off-key...Maybe it’s the tall, windowless, subterranean dining room, which looks less like a restaurant than a starkly impersonal underground cafeteria...or the presence of the franchise-style Milk Bar...where delicacies...are being packaged and sold like so many products in a Starbucks store.
In sum, it's not a home run for Chang. [NYP; TONY; NYM]

THE ELSEWHERE: Tables for Two approves of Pies 'n' Thighs, Metromix offers a rave for Williamsburg newcomer Traif, Betsy Andrews recommends the bone-in rib-eye at Park Slope's Benchmark, Oliver Strand likens Otarian's health and eco conscious menu to airplane food, Gael Greene has a report on where to eat in the Hamptons, Ryan Sutton thinks the steak sucks at Wolfgang's, and Robert Sietsema heads out to Coney Island to try the Peruvian fare at Coney Island Taste.

THE BLOGS: The Hungry Roach finds a carnivore's heaven at Umi Nom, Immaculate Infatuation recommends the chicken biscuit at Pies 'n' Thighs, Gotham Gal is surprised by the quality of the food at The Lion, the four burger experts at Burger Club NY weigh in on Burger Shoppe, Cleaned My Plate has the scoop on the tea pop-up Matcha Box, Boozy NYC thinks Anfora commits the seven deadly restaurant sins, NY Journal deems the new Annisa a compelling and romantic restaurant, and NYC Foodie grabs a table for one at Gramercy Tavern.

Torrisi Italian Specialties

250 Mulberry Street, New York, NY 10012 (212) 965-0955 Visit Website

Pies 'n' Thighs

166 South 4th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211 (347) 529-6090 Visit Website

Má Pêche

15 West 56th Street, New York, NY 10019 Visit Website

Ma Peche

15 West 56th St., New York, NY